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Water-fasting: Which Water Should I Use?

When it comes to drinking water, it's important to get pure, clean water especially during a water-only fast when your body can be more sensitive to foul tasting or oddly smelling water. There are many options available for filtration. From basic filtration pitchers to reverse osmosis systems, the choices can be overwhelming. However, there are 2 types of water filtration methods that stand out among the rest: distilled water and reverse osmosis filtered water.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is created through a process called distillation. This process involves boiling water and collecting the steam as it condenses. Since all other molecules other than Hydrogen & Oxygen are either too heavy to rise up into the steam or they do not vaporize at boiling temperature, the result is water that is pure and free of many of the impurities that are commonly found in tap water. This includes minerals, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds.

Because distilled water is free of impurities, it has a purer taste than tap water or water that has gone through other forms of filtration. This can make it more enjoyable to drink and doesn't give you an after taste. It's worth knowing, however, that during a water fast, it's common to have an unpleasant taste in your mouth and/or bad breath which can make drinking any kind of water unpleasant to taste. However, if you are noticing distilled water that tastes bad, check your distillation system to make sure it is working properly.

Concerns of buying Distilled water in plastic Jugs

Unless you buy a water distiller, you will need to purchase individual jugs of distilled water at the grocery store or have them delivered to you in the large 5 gallon containers. I have been asked about these plastic containers and the potential release of chemicals from the plastic into the water. I have even purchased a certain brand of distilled water (Ramon brand) and could taste the plastic.

The main concern is polycarbonate plastics, which once were commonly used for water bottles and other food containers, and may contain bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical that can leach into water, especially when exposed to heat or acidic conditions. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor and has been associated with health concerns, although many manufacturers have transitioned away from using BPA in their products so it's more rare to encounter them. However, choose water containers that are BPA-free (like Kroger Brand as one example), don't leave them out in the sun or in heated area, and avoid re-using the containers.

Distilled water myth: Does distilled water leech minerals from the body?

Drinking distilled water does not lead to the leaching or removal of minerals from the body - this is a common misconception and a health myth. In fact, the body obtains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium from the foods and beverages we consume, not from the water we drink. These minerals are absorbed in the digestive system and play vital roles in various physiological processes. During a water only fast, the body calls upon its own nutrient reserves to fulfill its physiological needs. A properly supervised fast includes regular lab testing to determine if those nutrient reserves are adequate to continue fasting or if the fast needs to be modified (with juice or broth, for example) or terminated.

Distilled water is safe to drink and is often used in medical and laboratory settings (including for water-only fasting research) when the absence of minerals or contaminants is essential.

If possible, I recommend drinking distilled water whether or not you are undergoing a supervised water fast.

Reverse osmosis (RO) Filtration

Reverse osmosis is a thorough method of water filtration. It works by pushing water through a semi-permeable membrane under high pressure, which allows only water molecules to pass through while blocking other contaminants such as dissolved salts, minerals, and heavy metals. Reverse osmosis systems can remove up to 99% of impurities in water, including bacteria and viruses. RO typically produces high-purity water that is nearly free from most contaminants. It can achieve a high level of dissolved solids reduction, resulting in water that is close to distilled water in terms of purity. It's for this reason that it is perfectly acceptable for water-only fasting. However, the same recommendations about taste should be followed: If the water tastes bad or weird, check your filters and see if they've been changed regularly.

Other water sources (not recommended):

Brita Filter: Brita filters mostly target chlorine, some heavy metals (like copper), and particulate matter. They are less effective at removing dissolved minerals, salts, and certain organic contaminants compared to RO.

Alkaline water: Alkaline water refers to water with a pH level greater than 7 on the pH scale, making it alkaline or basic. However, the marketing and health claims surrounding alkaline water have led to some misconceptions and misunderstandings. Even though adding certain minerals or alkaline substances to water can cause it to be alkaline, it's worth noting that pure water (like distilled water) has a neutral pH. It's also useful to know that the body has natural buffering systems to maintain pH levels within a narrow range.

Well water: The purity of well water is not guaranteed and is highly varied based on geological factors, human activities, and well construction. Regular testing and, if necessary, appropriate treatment are crucial to ensuring that well water is safe to drink and free from harmful contaminants.

Tap water: The purity of tap water can vary depending on where you live and the specific water treatment processes in place. I don't recommend relying on tap water because even though the treatment processes focus on removing or reducing various contaminants, including sediments, bacteria, viruses, chemicals (e.g., chlorine, disinfection byproducts, heavy metals), and organic compounds.) they do not always account for other contaminants (like pharmaceutical drug residues). In addition, municipal water treatment can include disinfection with chlorine and chloramine, and fluoridation.

Bottled water: The purity of bottled water can vary depending on the brand, source, and manufacturing processes. Bottled water is regulated by government agencies in many countries to ensure its safety and quality so it is very similar in purity to municipal tap water in the city it was bottled.

Overall, drinking pure water is essential for your health whether you are undergoing a water fast, a modified fast, or just eating a health-promoting diet. Relying on outside sources for your pure water can be inconsistent, so it may make sense to invest in your own filtration system like a water distiller or an under-the-sink Reverse Osmosis filter. This way, you have more control over the purity of your water. There are a few major aspects of lifestyle to pay attention to like diet, sleep, exercise, and fasting and all of these require pure water to ensure optimal health.


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